John Kass recently took a trip to Greece and Turkey and wrote a series of columns about it. His father immigrated from Greece from a village called Rizes (which means “roots”) in the center of the Peloponnesus. At the end of his column describing his visit to Rizes, he wrote:
I asked my Thea Tula, the only one of my father’s siblings who remained in Greece, for the reason Rizes is so beautiful.
“Because your father was born here, and your grandfathers and their grandfathers and their grandfathers,” she said. “That is why it is beautiful. Do you understand me?”
And like that, it was on me again, pressing my chest, making it difficult to breathe.
“Ianni, you understand?”
Yes, Thea, I understand.
It reminded me a bit of Jeff Goldberg’s observation about the attachment of Israelis and Arabs to their land.